As I'm about to let the cat out of the bag, there was an ulterior motive for this past weekend's Under the Hood article on gamebooks. Not in writing it, but researching it. With all the paperwork signed, sealed, and electronically delivered, I can officially announce my involvement in a new gamebook for the upcoming solo RPG, Adventurer.
The concept of this game is to create a core RPG system allowing players to create their own character and maintain an ongoing campaign throughout a series of gamebooks instead of switching characters with every different book. It's an interesting and unique concept put together by Shane Garvey and Stuart Lloyd combining the individuality of 1980s style gamebooks with the flexibility and character development of RPGs. You can even gain experience and levels with each gamebook adapting to your level. Its publisher, Adventure Games Guild, release a beta version of the game's rules last week, so feel free to check it out and judge for yourself.
My particular entry is currently titled Fire Across the Plains and involves the sole adventurer encountering a rising escalation between an isolated community of half-breed (half-elves, half-orcs, etc.) and the noble Emerald Knights. As each side accuses the other of instigating the conflict and threatening the other with war, the adventurer must get to the bottom of this predicament and find a way to keep the peace between them. It's a sandbox style adventure rather than a dungeon crawl and I'm really looking forward to putting the pieces together.
I have to admit, it's going to be a challenge putting it all together for the sheer reason that I've never written a gamebook before in my life. Played, yes, but never written. I've pulled out my reprinted special edition of Warlock of Firetop Mountain as inspiration, but the trick to making this book work will be allowing fluent choices without overwhelming the player with too many options. I want to set it up so that the player can choose which side to align themselves with and still reach the same conclusion, even play both sides and choose whom to align with. All I can say is that I'm glad I have a giant bulletin board in the office, cause I'm gonna need it.
As I get cracking on this project (with a projected first draft due date of early January 2013), stay tuned to this very blog for updates and thinking-out-loud posts as I do with all my work.